Kate Goosey is the Outdoor Program and Education Manager here at Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida. Not only does she build and run awesome outdoor programming for our Girl Scouts all year long, she also acts as our Resident Camp Director during the summer. Although camp has officially come to an end this year, we are always looking forward and exciting for new adventures ahead. Let’s hear about what she has to say in anticipation of this year’s Summer Camp and the arrival of new campers at Camp Welaka!
Our Resident Camp Staff couldn’t wait to get the party started as we Splashed into Welaka this summer! We gathered our supplies, compiled the rosters, completed our Pre-camp Training and were totally ready to guide all of our campers through an amazing, outdoor adventure. As our campers got ready to head to camp, some for their first summer and some returning for more fun, we were so grateful to have this opportunity to share camp and our love for the outdoors with the next generation.
Resident Camp provides our youth with so many opportunities to build both outdoor and life skills. Between the archery, canoeing and hiking, Girl Scouts build self-confidence, develop responsibility, and learn the complexities of relationships. While they are engaged in the resident camp program, campers are faced with challenges both big and small as they navigate daily life without their parents. Campers organize their own belongings, keep their cabins or tents tidy as well as practice conflict resolution and compromise with both existing friends and new friends they have just made.
For example, it is not uncommon for campers to let the excitement overcome them during their arrival to camp and the first time they open their duffel bag, out flies everything just to find the elusive swimsuit buried underneath. Now, it easy to point fingers and say that the mess is one camper’s responsibility, but our summer camp staff encourage the campers to work together and help their friends which usually turns into a huge cleaning party. All of our campers come to camp to have fun and explore new things, and for some of them, managing their belongings is one of the new things.
Between the swimming, singing, and art projects, Girl Scouts build leadership, face their fears, and try new things. The Girl Scout Research Institute recently found that 85% of Girl Scouts conquer their fears at camp. For example, a camper’s first time handling a recurve bow and shooting an arrow can be intimidating. But in the safety of camp with their friends cheering them on and counselors guiding them through the steps, they are hitting the target with ease by the end of their archery session.
These moments at camp are the reason our Summer Camp Staff cannot wait for your Girl Scouts to arrive at our gates. These moments are our “why” and make the heat, bugs, and being away from home all worth it. We look forward to meeting your camper or seeing those familiar faces from last summer and guiding them through a water-full resident camp experience! And if your Girl Scout is not coming to summer camp this year, we sure hope to see them next summer!
Written by Kate Goosey, GSSEF Outdoor Program and Education Manager, Resident Camp Director, and life-long Girl Scout.